Sidney Poitier, I Am Not

The taping of Duba & Company's Introductory Promotional Video, Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Timothy Stoner

The taping of Duba & Company’s Introductory Promotional Video, Photograph Courtesy of Jonathan Timothy Stoner

The 85th Academy Awards airs this Sunday, and if there were a category for Best Promotional Video by a Heritage Meat Company, I just gotta believe Duba & Company’s Promotional Video (2013) would be among the nominees. My confidence is derived, in part, from the fact of there being–to my knowledge–only one other heritage meat company in the United States (and they didn’t produce a promotional video this year). But, by far, the greater part of my confidence comes from the team that lies behind the production of the video, whom I wish to thank (but I’ll save that for the award’s speech). Here is a behind-the-scenes look at its filming which is here recounted in three acts.

Act 1: The Taming of the Shrew, or The Taping of the Interview

After months of pre-production meetings with the film team at Starbucks in Gaslight Village, we descended one hot June day on Uptown Kitchen in Eastown to film the interview portion of the video. Not one who is at all comfortable on camera, whatever ease comes across is to the credit of Jonathan Timothy Stoner who was able to “crack the nut”–namely, the author of this post and the promotional video’s interviewee. This Stoner did through an observation that answers flowed more freely when they were precipitated by the interviewee’s telling a story. However much we were sweating from a dysfunctional air conditioning system, no small part of Stoner’s sweat was due to the interviewee. And yet, he pulled it all off with patience,  professionalism, and his engaging and winsome way (not to mention a stroke of physiological genius). Assistant Director Sarah Schrees gets marks for catching a lapsed English teacher’s misuse of the term “to de-thaw”, as in “to de-thaw steaks” which–come to think of it–is no term at all.

Act 2: A Farm-to-Table Countryside Dinner, or The Filming of the “B Role”

It was director Rob Heath’s suggestion that the promotional video include extra footage (“B role”) of our family doing what it does best: dining, enjoying a meal together with kin and friends. Long had I desired to host a farm-to-table dinner in an outdoor setting, especially on one of those warm autumn evenings when the colors are peaking. We found such a day one late Tuesday afternoon in mid-October. The tables were laid out under an ancient maple tree at my father-in-law’s house: this is farm country, just minutes from the waters of Lake Michigan which can be heard from his yard on days when the gale winds blow. This, by the way, was the site of our wedding reception (and for those of you who missed it, you may enjoy this Blog’s first post which takes that reception as it’s launching point). On the menu that evening:

First Course: Spiced Butternut Squash Bisque (paring with Harmonie de Gascogne 2010, Chardonnay)
Second Course: Roasts of Heritage and Vintage Beef (Crane Dane Farm), Mashed Potatoes, and Steamed Collards (paring with Avalon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon & Nativa 2009 Carmenere)
Third Course: Apple Crumble a la Mode with Brandy Caramel Sauce (pairing with Hot, Mulled Brandied Apple Cider)

At dusk, a sudden rain storm (so often that time of the year) sent us scurrying indoors but not before nearly the entire event was caught on videotape during what Hollywood calls “The Golden Hour”: that time of day when the sun begins to sink, casting everything in its magical light…

Act 3: Post-Production

You should know that the video you’re about to see was edited using the same editing software that was used for The Dark Knight. [Author’s note: as I write these lines, Pandora is playing the title theme from that film as I listen, appropriately enough, to “Film Scores Radio”, introduced to me years ago by the Producer]. Yes, Batman: The Dark Knight, the film that won–among other Academy Awards–Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger). Is it any coincidence that one Rob Heath edited the video you’re about to see? I think not: and therein lies my last (and, perhaps, greatest) hope.

Credits

I wish to thank…Jonathan Timothy Stoner (Producer), Rob Heath (Director), and Sarah Scheeres (Assistant Producer), without whom none of this would be possible.

And now…

 The Feature Presentation: Duba & Company Promotional Video (2013)

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